Sunday, May 31, 2009

Letter from Overseas

(Madrid, Spain - May 31, 2009)
It was to be two planes, 14 hours, a pill to calm nerves and a prayer that would get me to Madrid to see my brother.  On the first flight to Atlanta, I sat next to an old man who told me "when you're my age" stories.  I humored the bastard and listened intently.  I didn't mind.  But when I finally fell asleep he woke me up so he could go to the bathroom, which in turn resulted in another "when you're my age" story about the glories of a weak bladder after 60.  My second flight was scheduled to clock in at 8 hours and 2 minutes.  I couldn't sleep.  During one of my visits to the bathroom, I glanced at the mirror as I was urinating.  I was so surprised at how fucked-up I looked from lack of sleep that I didn't notice that I had turned slightly to the left and was now pissing on the floor.  I'll just clean it, I thought.  Unfortunately, my small puddle of urine began to move towards the door due to the inclination of the plane.  You cannot imagine the panic I felt in regards to the possibility that my urine would exit towards the hallway.  I quickly grabbed some paper towels and cleaned it up. This was not the sort of thing I wanted to deal with at 30,000+ feet above the Atlantic ocean.  After the plane landed and I got to my brother's apartment, I decided to take a nap.  When I woke up a while later I noticed a foul smell emanating from my armpits. I had been in Europe for only a couple of hours and already I was smelling like one of their own.  After my brother's roommate looked at me and said "Hey, man - you wanna go ahead and take a shower?" I grabbed a towel and did what had to be done. 

After buying 40-ounce bottles of beer at a marketplace that was playing The Beatles' "Let it Be" (how lovely), we headed to some party at one of the local universities.  A couple of hours beforehand, I had eaten some spicy food and as anyone who knows me closely is likely to disclose, when I have to go to the bathroom it becomes a goddamn crisis.  To reach the entrance to the party, one had to walk down a wooden ramp that was decked out with a red carpet... seriously. Some guy in front of us fell down and actually rolled over a couple of times before he came to a stop.  This was very funny, but I had no time to laugh.  The cover charge was 10 euros, but my brother and I decided we were NOT going to pay.  So when we got to the gate we just nodded at the security guy, said hello and walked in like we owned the place and no one batted a lash.  We were through.  We walked with chins held high and felt like fucking royalty.  Our friends however, were not so fortunate.  They had to pay. When I found the bathroom I marveled at how clean it was.  I didn't have time to think about this much because there was business to attend to. Performance under pressure always results in success - don't ever forget that. 

When we left the party, we saw a group of four girls having pictures taken of them as they stood on the red carpet.  My brother was not amused by this, and decided to stand behind these bitches striking his best Richard Nixon pose for the camera.  I was so proud. 

This morning I woke up and took a walk around the city.  Since it's a Sunday, a lot of places are closed.  There were many people walking their dogs, while I just walked my lazy ass around.  I bought a terrible breakfast that included some ham that I could not chew and eggs that were drenched in olive oil and an unhealthy amount of salt. After returning to the apartment, I took a shower in a very small bathroom that has a sink whose hot water is too hot and the cold water is... you guessed it: too fucking cold.  Later in the afternoon we went to have lunch and I saw some beautiful sights.  I was particularly impressed however, with a man that had no arms, holding a plastic cup with his mouth while he shook his ass so the coins inside the cup would make noise.  You gotta love that.  I thought I should drop a coin in his cup but it seemed impossible.  He just couldn't stop shaking his ass. 

That's it for now.  Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm halfway around the world. 

Yours truly,

-Noel

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